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False Positive

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Hi! Has anyone else experienced this?!?!??! 

I tested positive for HSV2 in December, which was a huge shock for me considering I never had any symptoms, and when I told the people I have slept with, they got tested and all tested negative. My igG test was at 1.12, so I was leaning towards maybe having a false positive. I waited about 3.5 months to get retested with my OBGYN. She didn’t even want to administer the test but I am glad she did as my results came back NEGATIVE! When I asked about the Western Blot test, she said the blood test is nearly almost as accurate, so that wouldn’t be necessary. She said I can move forward with telling my partners I do not have herpes. Should I disclose that I have tested positive at one point, or just stick to the fact that I got a false positive and move forward? Has anyone else experienced this?! 

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Yeah, you’ve stumbled into confusing territory here, and there’s a lot of misunderstanding. The IgG does tend to give a lot of false positives and negatives unfortunately even though it’s the most popular. (IgM is even worse.) The most reliable tests are either a direct PCR swab and the western blot. The western blot is the gold standard yet pretty pricey. But at least you’ll get a definitive result. 

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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  • 4 months later...
On 3/11/2021 at 1:47 AM, lilyf26 said:

My igG test was at 1.12, so I was leaning towards maybe having a false positive.


I"ve got to ask. What does 1.12 mean? I had a look at my serology test and all it says is HSV2 IgG Detected.


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  • 2 weeks later...

What I understood from Terry Warren on a podcast, when she made a study of IGM-IGG test vs Western Blot:

- IGM:

  • It is worthless, as @mr_hopp says. It is not recommended.

- IGG for HSV-1 and HSV-2:

  • 12-16 after exposure, an IGG test is higly reliable.
  • The antibody tests for HSV 2 have a sensitivity of about 92% (out of every 100 cases of herpes, the test will pick up 92 of them).
  • If a test is positive between 0.9 and 3.5, the chances of being a false positive are 50%.
  • The closer the index value of 1.1, the more likely to be a false positive.
  • She mentioned she had found a false positive as high as 5.07, but it was rare. Numbers above 3.5 are positive.
  • In these cases of low positive (0.9-3.5), she highly recommends a Western Blot. 

- In the case of HSV-1: 

  • The IGG test misses 30% of the positive cases; but for HSV-2, it is different, the false positives are most likely in these frame numbers (0.9 - 3.5).
  • However, all the people tested positive for HSV-1 in IGG was 100% positive in western blot.

Terri Warren is not against the IGG blood test; in fact, she doesn't agree with doctors that don't test their they patients with the excuse "there are a lot of false positives". Most false positives are more likely to happen within the range (1.1-3.5); and false negatives in people who get tested to fast and don't wait the window time (12-16 weeks). I would also assume that it is a false positive since you have a really low positive, waited 3.5 months to get tested again, and your last partners tested negative. However, if, psycologically, you are ruminating and it makes you feel bad and it causes you anxiety, go for the Western blot, or get tested again for the blood test. In your case, it makes sense. I am confident it will be negative and you will feel fine.

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